To the Editor:
This is an open letter to our Council and for your readers.
My last correspondence to you asked if the Waterfront Master Plan (WMP) was valid or not. No response. Three years of research and development presented Saugeen Shores with a document setting the future for our waterways/beaches.
Three councils have endorsed the WMP. The mayor, CAO Smith and Mr. Donnini have all addressed the importance of the WMP. With this level of endorsement, recommendations are the expected line of action. That is what tax payers paid for. That is why the authors spent three years of their lives believing in the validity of this plan.
In that message I listed each page and quoted each line that continually repeated the need for collaboration and inclusion. One of the most important quotes appeared on page 11 under Overall Recommendations….”Governance: a consolidated approach” which is a significant ingredient in making a community healthy and strong.
I pointed out sixteen different sections of the Waterfront Master Plan that have been entirely ignored by this ‘hurry up’ village plan. These exclusions make a mockery of the authors’ 3 year commitment and the need for community planning. To make matters worse, a cloud of secrecy exists over public lands. You are being pushed into making a decision that represents only .0008% of this community’s population and ignoring the 40,000 summer beach visitors who are drawn to this lakeside community because of the beach. Many of those are tax paying seasonal residents.
How do you ignore our multi-million dollar 100 year tourist industry that would not exist if we did not have the beach drawing card? With the present high water circumstance, the village plan will take almost half of what is left of this natural environment.
How do you ignore the Great Lakes Protection Act? This deals with conservation of the province’s coastal areas.
With all the existing conference centre facilities in Saugeen Shores, where is the data that supports another conference centre regardless of location? I mentioned how Kincardine and Owen Sound lost businesses when the “Y” was brought in.
How do you ignore the contents of the Ontario Ministry’s Beach Tourism Statistics Study? Based on 6.5 million beach visitors, none, zero would use a convention centre, and only 2% would use a theme park, which is what the village plan is all about.
How is it possible to disagree with multi-billion dollar parks throughout the world that refuse to allow developers to ruin environmentally sensitive areas? E.g. Central Park in New York City.
How can the secret lease be 95% complete on August 8th according to your CAO (FOI document) BEFORE the only public meeting and before the only ad hoc meeting?
This whole process fails the ‘muster test’. Honest debate over public land should be the norm, especially regarding the property in question. It is most concerning that a ‘real’ question and answer public meeting has yet to occur.
Wayne Mc Grath